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The Cracker Queen: A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life
     

The Cracker Queen: A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life

4.1 9
by Lauretta Hannon
 

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Cracker Queen

The anti-Southern belle. A strong, authentic woman with a raucous sense of humor who holds her head, and her cigarette, up high. She knows loss and hurt; these things have made her beautiful, resourceful, and, above all, real.

Bad Choices Make Great Stories.

NPR's "All Things Considered" commentator Lauretta Hannon grew up in backwater Warner

Overview

Cracker Queen

The anti-Southern belle. A strong, authentic woman with a raucous sense of humor who holds her head, and her cigarette, up high. She knows loss and hurt; these things have made her beautiful, resourceful, and, above all, real.

Bad Choices Make Great Stories.

NPR's "All Things Considered" commentator Lauretta Hannon grew up in backwater Warner Robins. Her mama and daddy had a deep and disorderly love with years of booze, infidelities, and nervous breakdowns, and the stories of her deeply dysfunctional family include chain gangs, guns, ghost hunting, moonshine stands, scooterpootin,' the famous Goat Man of Georgia, and Crazy Aunt Carrie, who shot her first four husbands and went after the last one with a butcher knife. The early years of hardship and hard living all gave Hannon the resilience and humor that are now the hallmarks of her Cracker Queen way of life. Full of warmth, outrageous wit, and world-class storytelling, The Cracker Queen marks the debut of a powerfully original Southern voice.

Editorial Reviews

Savannah Morning News

Hannon's stories move from country-hick hilarious to poignant and touching.

White County News

Lauretta's hilarious depictions of Steel Magnolias everywhere provide perfect proof that the best storyteller—and characters—in the South are women.

Library Journal

As Hannon, a contributor to NPR's All Things Considered, writes of her impoverished childhood in a dysfunctional family in Georgia, her college experiences, and a career in marketing, she touts the core values of love, forgiveness, and gratitude that helped her make her way; she also writes that one needs to conquer fear and whup some ass. Despite the soundness of the values she espouses, the hard-luck story she relates here is nothing more than a series of sound bites-she jumps from one incident to another without much cohesion or continuity, e.g., one chapter starts and ends with Hannon buying school clothes but takes unrelated detours in between. There are some fun chapters on haints(the Southern term for ghosts), but the book feels more like a marketing tool for Hannon than a memoir of substance. Not recommended.
—Gina Kaiser

Kirkus Reviews
NPR commentator Hannon explains why "hardship and hard living are great enhancers.""Nonsmokers, Yankees, professors and even men" can also be Cracker Queens, she avers, so long as they live by this dictum: "I have a choice in how I see and react to things. I can choose to accept whatever comes at me with love and gratitude. I don't have to be oppressed-or anyone's victim. I can live large even if I'm huddling in a hovel." Given this premise, it's not surprising that the author recounts a difficult youth of scant means dominated by an alcoholic, mentally ill mother and a much-loved father she saw only on weekends and holidays. Entitlement is not an issue here, and Hannon hails the power of laughter as the iron lung of life. Nonetheless, she frequently wrings the heart with her portrait of a home life ever on the verge of combusting, periodically igniting into mayhem. Crazy relatives came by the bucketful, and the author draws a careful line between complete losers ("Scooter was the nastiest waste of protoplasm that ever walked the earth") and those whose weaknesses are evidence of their humanity. Her uncanny emotional balance allows her to extract nuggets of goodness from a mother with a lavish soul but a lot of problems, and from her Savannah, Ga., neighborhood, so crime-ridden that the local old men formed a "Geriatric Militia" armed with .45s and .38s. Life is short, so why be tasteful, she asks. Isn't it better to be fearless, authentic and have a sense of humor? Wouldn't you prefer love, forgiveness, thankfulness and purpose? These are not merely palliatives for Hannnon, but daily considerations. A bracing, heart-gladdening embrace of human foibles and strangeness. Agent: JoanneWyckoff/Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781592404506
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/16/2009
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
8.54(w) x 5.92(h) x 0.95(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Lee Smith

I raced through this book—horrified, laughing out loud, and weeping by turns. I say, let's throw out all the self-help and inspirational books in the country, and put up The Cracker Queen displays instead! Hannon really made me think, and I'm going to whup some ass, too. (Lee Smith, author of The Last Girls and On Agate Hill)

Rosemary Daniell

Watch out, Paula Deen and Jill Conner Browne! Chock full of unforgettable lines, The Cracker Queen delights again and again as the intrepid Hannon turns her hardscrabble beginnings into a major laugh fest that will leave her readers wanting more. Indeed, they will fall in love – as I did – with Hannon's wit and gutsy take on, well, everything. (Rosemary Daniell, author of Secrets of the Zona Rosa and Fatal Flowers)

Terry Kay

The heart, soul, and muscle of The Cracker Queen are in the often poignant, often shocking (but always engaging) pieces of Hannon's experiences. But there is more to it than that: there's also the promise of a remarkably gifted writer, one who understands that she is a medium for her environment, and, for readers, that is cause for great celebration. (Terry Kay, author of To Dance with the White Dog and The Book of Marie)

Meet the Author

Lauretta Hannon is a commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered and Georgia Public Radio’s Georgia Gazette, and has contributed to numerous newspapers. Winner of more than two hundred awards in marketing and promotions, she is the marketing director at Atlanta Technical College.

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The Cracker Queen: A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Emotional from cover to cover, from tears to laughing fits!
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ReaderSusan More than 1 year ago
A bookmark never touched the pages of my copy of The Cracker Queen. Hooked from the moment I picked it up, Lauretta Hannon, enthralls and mesmerizes with her great sense of humor and carefully crafted words. She answers the question of, "What will I do with my pain?" and inspires us to follow her on a journey of rising above the damage and hurt life inevitably brings. She proves that living life out loud with lots of laughter can carry you through just about anything. Like the author wrote, "You, however, do not have to be toothless to enjoy this book. Just Human." Cracker Queen or not, The Regal Essentials the author shares throughout her touching book of love, forgiveness, gratitude, and purpose will benefit all of us in surprising ways, if we let them. Long live the Queen!
HollowellTheForgottenRoom More than 1 year ago
I literally held my breath during some scenes in this memoir involving guns, knives, and mean back streets. But I also laughed out loud at the skate-a-thon, overeager grilling, and hostage guitar. The vivid moments of Lauretta Hannon's hardscrabble childhood and activist young adulthood make for spellbinding reading, and I devoured the book as fast as I could. Lauretta Hannon comes to the rescue, repeatedly. She prevents stabbings, assists prisoners, finds homes for the mentally ill, and confronts pit-bull breeders bent on dog fighting. The Cracker Queen is really a mantra about living life to the fullest with courage, joy, and great compassion. Call me a convert.
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MinnesotaReader More than 1 year ago
In Lauretta Hannon's exceptionally well-written memoir, she shares her bittersweet story of growing up destitute amid familial chaos in backcountry Georgia. Despite parental drunken fights, her mother's mental collapse, and a life of hardship, Ms. Hannon perseveres and innately realizes that how she lives her life is a choice. As her eccentric life unfolds, she chooses to respond to life's challenges and obstacles with love, gratitude and a big dose of humor. In the course of time. she forms and elaborates upon her list of 'core values'. Ms. Hannon brilliantly tells her story in a delightfully folksy style that thoroughly captivated me from page 1. I really, truly loved this wonderfully engaging book for the homespun humor and uplifting wisdom it expresses and therefore, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!
Honey603 More than 1 year ago
Just finished this book. A touching story peppered with laughs. I cried,laughed and cheered. Sometime all at once. I was familiar with Ms. Hannon's tales on National Public Radio but never suspected the story behind them. Shows us that women are Amazing creatures, strong and tough. We can overcome most anything and The Cracker Queen does. Love it, give us more!